Review by Archangel267

"A surprisingly fun adventure that will have you coming back for more"

Wow this game is old. I didn't play it when it first came out, in fact, I first played this game a year ago, and only now am I really beginning to appreciate how entertaining this game is.

Storyline-9.2/10 Gordon Freeman, age 27, fresh out of MIT, joining a science facility going by the name Black Mesa. He helps with a special operation that goes unexpectedly awry, and hostile aliens come to Earth through portals. Now you must escape Black Mesa and try to get help. He has to fight hostile aliens along the way, his protection being his hazard suit(gives him decent protection against radiation and other dangers, and has a neat computerized voice in it to boot). There's MUCH more to it, but I don't want too spoil more than I have to. It's surprisingly a pretty good story. Not nearly as good as Max Payne's, but we are looking at a pretty old game here...

Graphics-8.2/10 Not bad at all, even today they are decent. Models look blocky, faces not too detailed, stiff lip-syncing, somewhat blurry textures, but hey, they look darn good for a game that is about six years old. The animation isn't too shabby either. Weapons are detailed fairly well, and the bullet casings that pop out of the guns stay on the ground for a few seconds then disappear. One thing I must note is the excessive blood and gore in this game. The mediocre(by today's standards) graphics are probably only reason this game's players didn't get the ''Play this game in an empty stomach'' warning. But nevertheless, gore is gore, and a ton of it there is. A body can explode in numerous ways, such as getting hit by a rocket or getting crushed by heavy objects. The resultant blood, intestines, skulls, and bones do look quite gruesome, but you'll get used to it in no time. Alien innards don't look too pretty either :P

Explosions look fairly good, and so does the sky in outdoor levels.

All in all, the game has decent enough graphics to hold up pretty well.

Sound/FX- 9.3/10 Impressive. Voice-overs are convincing, aliens make grunts and other noises you would expect them to make. Other sounds such as explosions, elevators, and trams sound good too. Perhaps my main gripe lies in the weapon sounds. The handgun sounds fine, so does the revolver, but the submachine gun sounds like it is spitting out chewed up sticks of wood. And the submachine gun IS the main weapon in Halflife, as most of your human opponents use it, so might as well get used to it. Music kicks in at the best times, and the tracks are absolutely kickass, and they somewhat motivate you to get past the section in the which the music is playing.

Gameplay- 9/10 I didn't like this game the first time. The game looked like it was a bunch of boring puzzles and occasional short shootouts, so I didn't like it at the time.

Essentially this game IS a bunch of puzzles and shootouts, but not half as boring as I thought at first. As Freeman, you must use your head when you are trying to cross seemingly daunting gaps, or trying to kill a seemingly immortal three-headed alien monster. You constantly engage in combat with the Marines, out in force to kill you(because the government doesn't want the secret of Black Mesa be revealed to the world) and your fellow scientists. The puzzles can be confusing, but after a while they are only slightly challenging to DO, not to FIGURE OUT. Great variety is present in the gameplay. One level you are fighting a group of aliens(ranging from zombies to electric aliens) to a squad of Marines. Weapons range from pistols to alien guns, making the game that much more interesting to play. A bonus is the intense feelings this game gives you, either when you are on a heated firefight with aliens, or when you are trying to tiptoe past a gigantic alien snake.

General Difficulty- Intermediate

Enemies are actually darn smart, especially the Marines, because they will WORK AS A TEAM. They will use tactics as hiding and waiting for you to come to them, throwing grenades at you to flush you out of your hiding place(if you are hiding), and won't always aimlessly chase after you. And the puzzles can be quite hard to do, or confusing, so the game is fairly challenging(but won't have you pounding the computer in frustration).

Replayability- 8/10 This game is actually quite replayable, as you will come back for more, blood and guts, wacked out aliens, and maybe to get the story(just in case you didn't fully get it the first time. And there are different levels of difficulty.

Overall- 9.4/10(not an average)
A classic sci-fi shooter that is a game that you can pick up and play again and again. This game may be old, but pick it up and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/20/04

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